“This is f***ing reality…” one of our volunteers said as his eyes teared due to a sunken heart. He had just seen Ulingan for the first time.
My mother and I returned to Manila yesterday and we brought along volunteers from St. Luke’s in San Francisco.
We returned to the incomparable reality in which my mother’s heart remained. Here we are once more for the children of Ulingan, Helping Land, and our relocated Ulingan children who now reside in Batia, Bulacan.
Both of our learning centers are deep within each community. In order to reach them, we have no choice but to open our eyes to see the harsh environments that our children call home.
The path to our Ulingan Learning Center
The path to our Helping Land Learning Center
Hearts cannot help but become heavy while we walk down the long supposed paths. However, they quickly begin to lighten once we hear the children playing around the corner.
What amazes us, and what always will, is their continuing hospitality and gleaming smiles they greet us with. Despite their conditions and despite society’s neglect, they are here simply wanting to play, learn, and be loved.
In both locations, we took part in our new Summer Program, which provides lunch and arts&crafts activities for the children. Words cannot describe these kids eagerness to create something of their own, something beautiful.
This is f***ing reality. To others, it may just be where the garbage goes, but for us it is where we see hope. They are children with the power to build a kingdom from scraps and happiness within Manila’s shadows. Imagine how much we can all do for each other if we optimistically persevered just as they do. Again, this is f***ing reality, so what can we do to better it?